Jun 23, 2017

Chicken Stir-Fry with a Secret Aromatic Weapon - Cilantro

Cilantro is truly a love and hate ingredient. To some people, cilantro is an irreplaceable aromatic that make a dish shine, especially in Asian countries. But to some, cilantro is nothing more than a soapy, scary tasting thing. Well, believe it or not, it has to do with genes. Some people's olfactory-receptor genes, OR6A2 specifically speaking, can pick up certain aldehyde chemicals. Aldehyde chemicals can be found in cilantro and some soap. And I guess soapy is not a welcomed aroma when presents in food.

Luckily I don't have such concerns and would love to just dive in cilantro paradise. However, if you just can't accept cilantro whatsoever, simply swap out cilantro with flat leaf parsley. The result will just be as aromatic, without the soapy taste. 


Chicken stir-fry with lots of cilantro -




Ingredients?



  • 1 large chicken breast
  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • 3 medium king oyster mushroom
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 small can of kernel corn
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Some white pepper powder
  • Few dashes fish sauce


How?

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Peel and cube the carrot. Cube the king oyster mushrooms. Cube the chicken. There is no need to marinate the chicken first, the cilantro will do most of the flavoring work. 

Finely chop the cilantro, it should loosely packed a small bowl. Drain the juice from canned kernel corn.




Drizzle enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium high heat and add in chopped garlic along with salt and pepper. Mix a little and cook till aromatic but not burnt.


Add the chicken and cook till the meat is about half way cooked through.


Add in the carrot and mushroom, cook for a short moment then add in few dashes of fish sauce.


Add in drained kernel corn and cook till the corn warms up. Lastly, mix in chopped cilantro and some white pepper powder. Taste and see if need to pump up the saltiness by using extra fish sauce.


Plate and garnish with fresh cilantro.




Do not discard the cilantro steams. Use both the leaves and stems for maximum flavor boost. In fact, the texture of the stems actually works better in stir-fry dishes.



Other recipes where the aroma of cilantro shines:

Jun 17, 2017

Fancy Dinner in No Time - Iberico Steak with Salad Greens

Fancy for a steak dinner? Since this recipe uses high quality Iberico loin end, just a touch of salt and pepper and let the pork speaks for itself. Some quick fix salad greens serve as a healthy side dish, but of course the greens are mainly there to justify my meaty guilty pleasure.

Iberico steak with salad greens -





Ingredients (for 2 to 3 portions)?


  • 2 Iberico loin end steaks
  • Some mixed salad greens
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some fleur de sel or kosher salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper


Simple salad dressing -

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Some fleur de sel or kosher salt
  • Some freshly ground black pepper


How?

Rest the Iberico steaks in room temperature and season both sides with some salt and pepper. 





Drizzle just enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan. Turn to medium high heat. Once the oil turns hot, transfer the Iberico pork over and sear till slightly crusty and browned on both sides. The actual cooking time differs depending on the thickness of the meat, but just treat it like regular steak, you can even transfer the whole thing to the oven to finish cooking. A little pink in the center is fine too for Iberico pork.


Once the steaks are ready, remove from heat and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes.




Prepare the salad while resting the meat. Mix all the dressing ingredients and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. Toss with salad greens, it's that simple. 


Plate the Iberico pork and top with salad greens. Sprinkle some more black pepper and serve immediately before the salad starts to wilt. 



  
No kidding, this part of Iberico pork really tastes like a beefy steak. 



Use something slightly sourish as a side dish to balance off the flavors. I didn't have time to make red onion pickles, otherwise it can be a wonderful addition. However, quick fix salad with balsamic dressing can always be a good alternative, just like this meat-loaded meal I just had.



Other steak recipes: